Members of the Egyptian police stand in front of the Luxor Temple in Luxor, Egypt on October 26, 2019. Security forces detained and charged journalist Basma Mostafa upon her arrival in the city on October 3, 2020. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Egypt detains freelance journalist Basma Mostafa on false news, other charges

New York, October 5, 2020 – On October 3, state security forces arrested freelance journalist Basma Mostafa upon her arrival at a bus stop in the southern city of Luxor, where she had traveled to cover the alleged killing of a man, Ewais al-Rawy, during a police raid for the al-Manassa newspaper, according to her lawyer and husband Karim Abdelrady whospoke with CPJ via messaging app. The following day, the state security prosecutor charged Mostafa with spreading false news, misusing social media, and joining a terrorist organization, and ordered her to be detained for 15 days pending trial, according to Abdelrady and news reports

“CPJ is troubled by the state security prosecutor’s decision to detain journalist Basma Mostafa on vague charges that are clear retaliation for covering news that the Egyptian government wants to suppress,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Mostafa and ensure that all members of the press can report freely.”

Basma Mostafa (Karim Abdelrady)

According to CPJ’s 2019 prison census, at least 26 journalists are in Egyptian custody on charges related to their reporting; many are awaiting trial.